1. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    Wife and I’s anniversary is in May. This is my birthday. Sorry for the confusion.

  2. jazzlet says

    Congratulations Ogvorbis!

    Ice Swimmer, I think a ‘slient swan’ would be called a ‘mute’ swan, apologies if this is not what you meant.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    jazzlet @ 3

    You’re right. It is mute swan Cygnus olor. I think i erred, because we don’t call it a no-sound making swan in any way shape or form in Finnish, it’s kyhmyjoutsen, “hump swan”, due to the black little hump at the root of the beak. However, the national bird of Finland, the whooper swan Cygnus cygnus is laulujoutsen, “singing swan”.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Congratulations to Jazzlet and partner. And to Oggie for making another orbit of the sun.
    Now it is abnormally warm for January (66 ℉, 19 ℃), going back to normally freezing temps as a cold front moves through this afternoon.

  5. says

    Just got back home, we were snowed in for an extra day. Effing -16F today. Rick passed his colonoscopy with flying colours, a very healthy colon.

  6. Raucous Indignation says

    Love a healthy colon. I could relate stories from my two colonoscopies if you’d all like. I’m more than common profane on an average day. Receiving anesthesia after an overnight colon prep is said to have made me more so.

  7. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    It ain’t you whose confused.

    No need to apologize. It was my bad writing (I was trying for humour) is to blame.


    jazzlet, chigau, Nerd — thanks.



    Rick passed his colonoscopy with flying colours, a very healthy colon.


  8. Raucous Indignation says

    No takers? Just as well.

    Best wishes to everyone’s colon. Especially you Caine.

  9. says

    Happy Birthday, Ogvorbis
    Yay for Rick
    A very healthy colon can pass almost everything.*
    I seem to have discovered the wonderful world of migraines. I’m consistently not sure if I need food or want to puke and the first thing after opening my eyes is pain, a lot of it.

    And finally, people, tell me, am I off here?
    On Twitter I saw people being all upset about some British PSA, reminding pedestrians to pay attention to traffic and not just to their electronic devices, which sounds like, you know, common sense to me, just like reminders to wear something that reflects light in winter.
    But apparently that is some sort of victim blaming, because the one in the 2 t car has all the responsibility.
    Now, I don’t want to say that drivers aren’t reckless assholes who endanger pedestrians and everyone else, but traffic accidents are not sexual assault. Saying “watch where you’re going instead of looking at your screen” isn’t the same as “don’t walk alone at night”.
    Jeez, as a car driver I wished that truck drivers wouldn’t change lanes on the Autobahn by bullying, but ffs, I’m still going to pay extra attention before passing one because no matter how righteously I have right of way, I end up being the dead one. As a pedestrian the same fucking shit applies. I still watch and wait if a car really stops because if they run the red light I am still fucking dead.

    *I’ll see myself out.

  10. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says



    Yesterday, as I drove home from work, I almost hit a woman and child. I was driving down US Route 11 and the woman, dragging a small child, walked out into the busy street while looking at, and yelling at, a cell phone. The child screamed (or appeared to (I was listening to some Dylan at the time)) and pulled the woman back. Meanwhile, my anti-lock brakes were fully engaged and I was hoping the SUV behind me didn’t introduce itself to my rear end. No damage, no collisions, no pedestrian on my hood, but my pulse probably hit 200.

    So, yeah, it is my responsibility to drive safely (I was doing the speed limit which is why the SUV was so close to my arse), but it is also the responsibility of the pedestrian to be aware of what is going on around him or her.

    I don’t look at it as victim blaming, I look at it as being in the same vein as the drunk driving PSAs and texting while driving PSAs.

  11. says


    And finally, people, tell me, am I off here?

    No. If it were up to me, I’d impose seriously harsh rules, taking everyone back to landline days. Y’know, when everyone was okay not being glued to a phone for every second they were out. As it stands, laws against yakking on cells while driving are utterly useless, every time we’re out, we almost have at least one asshole run into us because they are busy on a phone, not paying attention.

    I would really prefer there be zero use of any e-device unless a person is stationary or safely ensconced in public transport. Honestly, I don’t know why people think they will die if they don’t take every call immediately. Shut the damn things off while driving or walking.

  12. voyager says

    Cheers to Rick’s healthy colon and tender greetings to your inside out colon.
    The weather here in Ontario is weirdly warm and rainy. 2 days ago it was minus 20 and we had a storm drop about a foot of snow. Today its about 10 degrees and most of the snow has melted.

    Happy birthday Ogvorbis. I did hit a pedestrian once. A teenager jumped out of a stopped car in the lane beside me and crossed right in front of me without looking. Thankfully I was slowing down to stop for a red light or I might have killed him. I watched his face contort as he flew up my hood towards me and then fly off in the other direction as my car came to a stop. Amazingly he was only bruised. This was about 30 years ago and I still have occasional nightmares. It’s the sounds that stay with me. Humans make a terrible squishy sort of thud when you hit them.

  13. Raucous Indignation says

    Humans also make terrible noises when you cut them open (or when they are cut open) and you poke around inside them.

  14. says

    Raucous Indignation:

    Not always. I’ve been cut into, no anaesthetic, and there was much poking about, and I never made a sound.

  15. jazzlet says

    In the UK there are rules about who is generally responsible in accidents and therefore should get damages, like if you plough into the back of another car it is assumed to be your fault and it’s up to you to prove otherwise. Pedestrians are usually assumed to be innocent, but, as with other road users, there can be contributory negligence which will cut the amount of compensation you get. And that would definitely be so in voyager’s case, or if you walked into the carriageway without looking for whatever reason. I have a neice who is going blind which at the moment means she has tunnel vision and she often has people walk right into her that she couldn’t see, because they were in what would have been her periheral vision if she had it. They are often on their phones, yet they get angry with her because she ‘should have been looking’ even though they weren’t!

  16. chigau (違う) says

    Reflective tape on your clothing or backpack works wonders for making you visible in the dark.

  17. says

    I am glad Rick is OK. That is at least good nows.

    Re pedestrians: The false comparison with rape and victim blaming in this regard was discussed on pharyngula a few years back -click-

    In CZ it is law to wear something reflective after dark. I do notknow if it is also law in GE. But sure as hell people on both sides of the border ignore this very sensible thing. Cops evidently did not hand out enough fines yet (similarly with bike -riders, those are supposed to be lit/reflective too -- many aren’t).

    I used to be a pedestrian only and I wore dark clothes. I took care to step off of the street whenever a car was passing by, or to wear a lit pocket torch/lit cell phone. Now I am driver because to my workplace is no sensible public transport connection and I cuss people all the time. Just yesterday some german lady had nothing better to do after dark and in heavy mist to boot than to walk her tiny doggie out on the street, wearing dark clothes with no reflective tape or ligth whatsoever.

    Sometimes I think these people have a deathwish, but I know they are just dumb. I have a deathwish.

  18. Ice Swimmer says

    The way I see it, traffic safety depends on everybody, who’s capable being alert and prepared to give way when needed.

    “Everybody capable” is most of us plus crows, rats and dogs.

    Charly @ 25

    The world is a better place with you than without you!

  19. chigau (違う) says

    I’m in Vancouver.
    It’s raining.
    Let me rephrase
    but it aten’t -25°C

  20. jazzlet says

    It’s not raining here and the path down the garden is dry. The grass* is still muddy of course, because it was raining yesterday. At the moment the clouds are only pale grey so it isn’t going to rain just yet, but that won’t last.

    * We do not have a lawn, we have grass. ‘Lawn’ implies things like short grass, lack of weeds, smoothness, neat edges, maybe even mowed stripes. Somewhere you might sit to have afternoon tea or might play croquet. This is not in any way what we have.

  21. says

    I feel with you, and I know that tons of well meaning and honest people telling you what a wonderful person you are will only do so much, and that people’s worries about you can make it worse. So I’m not going to repeat any of this, but remind you that it is ok to seek help. And maybe have your thyroid levels checked because holy fuck those thyroids are nasty mood killers.

    Do you also have the ecologically valuable dead wood pile you never managed to clean up?

  22. jazzlet says

    We did have a potentially ecolgically valuable wood/brush pile. However one of us is a bit of a pyromaniac and spent a happy day burning it all. To be fair one reason for the conflagration on this occasion was that when preparing the bonfire patch for our veg and fruit beds he unearthed a deceased cat. This would have been a bit sad, but also rather interesting had the cat not been carefully wrapped in plastic so instead of a clean skeleton it was a putrid mass no longer contained by the degraded plastic. Mr Jazz felt the need to sterilise this ground with fire before growing any food there and I sympathised.
    I can’t get my head round why you would do this. It’s like the dog owners who carefully bag their dog’s shit in plastic bags and leave it by the path or even worse hang it in trees. You end up with the worst of both worlds.

  23. says


    Do you also have the ecologically valuable dead wood pile you never managed to clean up?

    We have one, the thicket. It’s all the branches which have come down in storms or trimmed. Home to birds, rabbits and who knows what else.

  24. says

    Earlier this week we had rain, with horrendous mudslides in the burn areas.

    Today we have Santa Ana winds, to dry everything out so it can burn again.

    Next week there may be rain again.

    California certainly is interesting.

  25. kestrel says

    No rain or snow here. Our ecologically valuable dead wood piles are turning into fire hazards. If it becomes safe to rid ourselves of this hazard by judicious use of a match, we will do so… but more and more, it is not safe.

    Re: dead cat in a plastic bag. Yeah, WTF. When we first got the farm there was a trailer on it, and that is where we first lived. We moved in on Jan. 1st and everything in the trailer was frozen. We got the furnace fixed and I began slowly to go through trying to make it habitable… but the more it warmed up, the worse the place smelled. Finally I discovered that a dead cat had been left under the bathroom sink… it was in a plastic bag that had a room freshener in it along with the dead cat. I had to go to the neighbors and ask if I could just have a little moment sitting down on the couch, with my head in my hands, while I contemplated this. They very kindly sent their son over to help me get rid of the dead cat.

  26. says

    Burying the dead cat in plastic: stupid
    Placing it under the sing: plain mean.

    Kestrel, I can relate
    The previous owners were just plain stupid (at least him, but he was a Guy™ and therefore never wrong), so they “insulated” the cellar by putty styrofoam on the warm walls and then some “decorative” wood in front of it. When I removed the wood panels on the outside facing wall in what is going to be our guest room, there was the moment when I heard the sound of lots of sand falling down (what was left of plaster and concrete), the smell of rot struck me and I started to cry.
    It took me a few minutes to calm down and realise that no, this wall cannot be wet from the outside. Our house is standing at the side of a hill. The living room faces the street at ground level, my office, which is on the same floor but towards the backyard, is on the first floor and the cellar is the ground floor. That room is there and the wall we’re talking about doesn’t have a chance to get wet.

    This is also why our dead wood pile (really, we wanted to make firewood for barbecues) cannot become a fire hazard because it’s simply too wet. It’s at the bottom of the hill where the sun comes last and leaves first because the opposite side rises up again and has lots of tall beeches on top. Yesterday we added to it, as we have started to cut the trees. We managed two branches and then decided we need a better saw. We’Re still fighting for that old apple tree and I hope cutting back that decorative I don’t know what tree that is standing too close and thinning out the apple tree will help. It visibly rejuvenated last year when we removed the brambles and the ivy, flowered like mad and grew a lot of apples, but didn’t manage to keep them until they were ripe.
    It hasn’t been cut back for probably 30 years and it’s now a fucking lot of work.

  27. rq says

    What Giliell said.
    Also *hugs/higs* and please know that I am privileged to know you. As one deathwish to another, I salute you; you are not alone.


    In other news, Caine, your solution to dull beige is wonderful, thank you for sharing your creativity -- the colours and variety are brilliant, and a spit in the face of those who believe signs of illness of any kind should be made boring and ugly and shameful. ♥ And I am glad for the good health of Rick, I hope he is doing well, too.


    General *waves* to everyone else. I’m so tired.

  28. Ice Swimmer says

    Let’s continue on the theme of corvids:

    A hobbyist photographer was going to take some pictures of an eagle at a carcass from a from hidden little hut. No eagle was there, but two ravens came up and started to engage in some rough play in the freshly fallen snow. According to the photographer, they were rolling in the snow like puppies and one had a lump of ice in the mouth and the were playing with the lump of ice.

    According to the expert interviewed for the article, ravens can be quite playful and communicative among their own.

  29. kestrel says

    @Ice Swimmer: I just read the article through the “miracle” that is Google Translate; I can’t think the result is accurate, but this morning it sure brought some gales of laughter to our house. I mean, I could understand what they meant… usually… anyway, the version translating to English has this:

    Quote: “The raccoon is a wise bird and is constantly observing its environment.
    -If she sees the stomach coming out of the hiding hole without having noticed anyone’s going in, then the bird can avoid the area for a couple of weeks, says Arto Laitinen.”

    The next header says, quote, “The thrill is typical of varicose veins” which is in bold. LOL. To me it sounds like the original language is far more colorful than English, and Google Translate struggles with this.

    *waves to everyone* Good morning!

  30. says

    Thanks, Giliell, rq. My next thyroid check is scheduled on end January. I do not have any reason to suspect any worsening of my condition. Just the weather does all it can to worsen my coping ability, which was never great to start with. Ever since childhood I was weak, sickly and it is gnawing on me more and more. I just spent an hour and a half working in my garden and I am finished for the day. There is so many things I wish to do and I have barely the strengt to do one tenth of it. Even things I enjoy.

    Google translate is often quite a spectacle. Czech is also very colorful language with complicated grammar and I have never, ever seen google to make a good job of translating from CZ to EN. The other way around it is much, much better. A few people who visited my blog either from here or pharyngula comment sections have tried to read it through google translate. That must have put some very funny ideas in their heads if they took it at face value.

  31. says

    *hugs* and/or a nice cup of tea to all.

    I finished sorting a big plastic box of mostly seed beads I brought home from Aged Mum’s last month. Paul got some for adding to his enameling experiments, I added a lot to my stash. There’s still a gallon bag of miscellany, mostly old bead necklaces and bags of mixed beads, all a bit grubby from sitting in a closet for years. I’ll probably ask my artist cousin if anyone in her circle could use such things.

    Now I’m really depressed. A lot of those seed bead hanks we bought together back in the day (bulk pricing), and she’s never going to use them again. I still have more beads and stuff I brought home to sort through, and there’s a lot more at her house. I feel like throwing out all my crafty things right now so my kids won’t have to…

  32. says

    Anne, you can talk all you like. You’re not the only thinking the thoughts. I know if I end up going terminal, I don’t even want to think about trying to clean out my studio and get stuff to someone who might be able to use it.

  33. says

    I feel with you. I haven’t really used my sewing machine in about a year. I have shirts where I only need to close the seams again and I don’t manage to.

    I donated a lot of my grandma’s wool to my kids’ after school daycare (I’m not going to use those 80s polyester mixes, brrr) and they were happy. No craft supply is ever wasted, somebody will love it.

  34. says

    Caine, Giliell, thanks. I culled my fancy scrapbooking scissors and punches last year and gave the lot to our library -- they have summer craft programs for kids.

    What’s really getting me down is how much of that stuff AM and I shared and learned together, and now she can’t do any of it. I don’t ever want to end up that helpless.

  35. jazzlet says

    Kestrel Mr Jazz was left speechess by your dead cat story, but we were both howling at the howlers in the google translation, so thanks for that, we needed a laugh.

    Giliell when you get to cutting back the apple tree take at least two years to do it so it doesn’t get too much of a shock. They are resilient trees and will take a lot of neglect, but it will be brought back to fruitful production more quickly if it doesn’t get too much of a shock in one go. You will probably need to cut back some frighteningly big branches to get it back to maximum health, the tree will cope with this, in fact it will sprout like crazy the next year and you will then need to select a few of those sprouts to be your new smaller branches. Sorry if you know all this and I’m teaching my (far younger than me!) grandmother to suck eggs!

    Charly sorry again you are in a bad place. I have never done well at this time of year and this year is no exception. We are going away for a week tomorrow, but I’m going to try to see a doctor before I go. I promised Mr Jazz I wouldn’t commit suicide so I won’t, but when I’m wanting to be dead as the default position I know I need to do something about it. Though what they will do I’ve no idea, I’ve done the CBT, the mindfulness, I’m on an anti-depressant and the psychologist said I have a good grasp of my mental state. Yay me.

  36. jazzlet says

    Anne you posted while I was writing, I am sorry, I found cleaing away aged parent’s things just awful, actually worse than clearing away deceased parent’s things (forgive me if I have misunderstod your situation). And yes it made me want to throw all my yarns, fabrics etc away, because they couldn’t enjoy them any more. Especially the Liberty fabrics, which both my mother and my MIL adored.

  37. Ice Swimmer says

    Higs for everybody!

    The Google Translate did really make pig’s breakfast out of the text. Raven (korppi) has been translated to corpse, boot and raccoon, corvids (varislinnut, lit. crow birds) to varicose veins (WTF even are those) and the word ukko (basically man or old man, nowadays) was translated to stomach.

    I think, one thing, apart from little effort into implementing better algorithms because there aren’t that many speakers, could be that Finnish is an agglutinative language, using a lot of case endings, suffixes and other stuff in the ends of the words to signify things mostly expressed with prepositions or other words in English and the word order is relatively free and can be used to express nuances in meaning.

  38. kestrel says

    @Ice Swimmer: LOL, OK, that clarifies it a bit! And I can promise you, since I have them, that varicose veins are far from thrilling:

    To those who have craft supplies etc: use them! Use the SHIT out of them! I will tell you one thing I learned from my grandmother: DO NOT “save” things for “good”. USE THEM! When she died, her closets were filled with wonderful things she had “saved for good” for just a little bit too long… including things she’d been given as a child and had long since outgrown… Use your stuff until it is so worn out it’s incredible. If you know for a fact you won’t use something, find someone who will. Sell it to them, or give it to them, whatever works. I love Craigslist for this: I have both found and sold things that I either would like or would like to get in the hands of someone who will make use of it.

    Hugs and pecan biscotti (fresh and homemade!) to any who would like them.

  39. says

    jazzlet, yes, exactly. It’s especially hard because I can remember learning these crafts with or from my mom, or showing them to her. *hugs* for you. Depression is a sucky, sucky liar.

    kestrel, my cousin and I have had that very discussion, especially about being afraid to use the vintage buttons/handmade paper/special fabric because what if it’s perfect and we can never find another one? Paul’s got a similar problem with his enameling -- he has some very old enamels (some with lead, even) that he doesn’t want to use until he can make something perfect. At least I was able to show him that there are lots more little glass beads where those came from,so he can run all the tests he wants.

    Pecan biscotti, please yes and thank you! I have Irish Breakfast tea if anyone wants a cup.

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Looking at Anne, Jazzlet, and Kestrel above, I fully understand cleaning up after someone.
    The Redhead, due to listening older women, had a YUGE yarn supply, as she thought after I retired, we would be SSA poor, and she would be unable to purchase yarn as needed. Not the case. I was putting enough money into my IRA’s to last us unless we lived to a very, very, ripe old age, or severe health problems intruded. At the moment, I’m not worried about paying for my future.
    Every month I take two plastic tubs of her yarn to one of her knitting/social groups. Usually come back with just one (the smaller one) full. Suspect I’ll be doing this for another couple of years. I much rather have her stash turned into baby whatevers, prayer shawls, or just something one of her friends couldn’t justify the expense of than to throw it in the garbage.

  41. says

    I think it’s easier to clean up after someone is dead, because going through things can prompt happy and fond memories; when you have to start doing that while someone is still alive, it’s simply sadness and grief.

  42. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 57

    I don’t know.

    I had to pause for a while to calculate if she was older or younger than me (older, but not that many years).

    I love “Zombie”.

  43. jimb says

    Charly @ 57:
    Wait, what? Dammit! 46 is young. Too young.

    About a month ago Pat DiNIzio, lead singer of The Smithereens, died at 62. I (still) love many of their songs.


  44. says

    So, back home. Things are going to start moving quickly. My oncologist wants me started on chemo and radiation next week, most likely starting Monday, but would like me to see if I qualify for a clinical study (Veliparib), so on Friday, I have a PET scan at 7:00am, radiation doc visit at 10:15, and an MRI scan at 2pm, so I will not be around on Friday. He wasn’t encouraging about the possibility of resection, so there’s a good possibility I’ll be stuck with these bags forevah. We’ll see, I guess.

    And, I’m back in town early tomorrow am to see Berglund, so there won’t be much going on here.

  45. Raucous Indignation says

    PARP inhibitors look promising in colorectal cancers. Especially if there is loss of ATM gene function. Veliparib is ready for human clinical trial. PARP inhibitors are “generally well tolerated” as we say in the trade. Most bowel symptoms and low blood counts; stuff that is usually manageable by the patient and treating team. (Monitoring for toxicity is especially careful on trial.) The academic oncology world says that participation in a clinical trial is always the best standard of care. I agree with that. The pediatric oncology world treats more than 70% of their patients on clinical trial. That’s at least partially the reason they have made so much more progress that adult oncology.

    Good luck.

  46. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    While not attempting to make this a day of charity, I did drive a woman who is 20 year older than me to her doctor’s appointment. She indicated when she got home, she wouldn’t mind if I provided further assistance to her. Successful mission.
    I intended to stop by the office on my way to her house, but once I reached the 4-way stop near the post office, I could see it was closed today. My utility bills will have to wait until tomorrow to be mailed. Something to look forward to.

  47. StevoR says

    Trio of diferent dinosaurian news items :

    Iridescent little dinosaur -- Caihong juji meaning “rainbow with the big crest” -- & it turns out hummingbird like colours :

    Borealopelta markmitchelli -- a counter-shaded thus camouflaged as well as armoured nodosaur :

    Again, pretty staggering and fascinating that we can discover the colours of these millions of years extinct critters.

    Plus more parochially :

    A new ancient Aussie herbivore dinosaur Diluvicursor pickeringi.

  48. chigau (違う) says

    Frequently translated as “good luck” but better a meaning is “kick ass”.
    (phrased as a polite imperative)

  49. chigau (違う) says

    I accidentally hit some combination of time-server-modem-browser and watched the top video.
    What happened to the USoA?

  50. says

    Raucous Indignation:

    The academic oncology world says that participation in a clinical trial is always the best standard of care. I agree with that.

    Yep, that’s what I was told. My oncologist, John Reynolds, is a very nice person, and wanted me in the trial right away. Hopefully, I’ll qualify. I’ll be doing the standard port chemo, along with the radiation and the oral chemo, can’t remember the name, starts with a z. The big decision will be the surgery -- Reynolds wants it done right fast; Berglund would like to wait a bit, because that would up my chances at a later resection. I’ll know more later today.

  51. Raucous Indignation says

    I most certainly would believe the amount of paperwork. I have been a site PI on a number of trials and have sat on two Institutional Review Boards.

  52. Raucous Indignation says

    That’s a very reasonable clinical trial. The FOLFOX chemotherapy, which is the standard of care for colorectal cancer, is given in a neoadjuvant fashion prior to the Xeloda and radiation. FOLFOX is usually given at radiation what it can be given beforehand as well. It’s randomized 1:1. So there is a 50-50 chance that you’ll get the study drug versus the placebo. That’s something that I would enroll my patients on if I had this trial open at my institution.

    Hugs to you, Caine.

  53. says

    Holding my thumbs for you, Caine

    Would any of you happen to have a nice introductory text to the Trail of Tears, suitable for high school students? I really mean an introductory text, giving some overview, not a whole book or something. I’m teaching “the American Dream” right now and the focus is kind of on the fact that it isn’t just dying with Trump now, but that it has always been a dream for few on the backs of many.

    PSA: Today next year I’ll be 40. There will be a party.

  54. Raucous Indignation says

    And Happy 39th Birthday to you, Giliell. I had 39th birthdays for quite a few years in a row as, I recall. But the memories grow dim with age, what with being almost as old dirt.

  55. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    One of the National Park Service sites is the Trail of Tears National Trail. If you scroll down to the bottom of the opening page, there is a link for Plan Your Trip: Publications. A .pdf is available for free download which gives a good, and quite balanced, account of the who, what, where, when and why. It’s about a ten minute read and has some good graphics to boot.

  56. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Okay, the .pdf is a little bit grainy on the text, but is still readable.

  57. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    And how did I miss that part of it? Happy birthday, Giliell.

    I hope that provides a good basic overview from which you can expand in multiple directions.

  58. kestrel says

    Happy birthday, Giliell! Why not have a party this year, too? One can never have too many parties!

  59. says

    Happy birthday, Giliell.

    When I hit the unspeakable number a year and a half ago, I referred to it as “twenty years -- second edition”.

    @Caine, fingers crossed. Lets hope the treatment helps, whatever you get

  60. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Happy Birthday Giliel. A local hero near my section of Chiwaukee had many “39th” birthdays, namely comedian Jack Benny.
    I am more honest. My sixty-mumble birthday will occur this year. ;)

  61. says

    Thank y’all
    I celebrated my birthday by not doing homework. On Saturday we’ll go to a 4 course menu with whisky tasting with our friends. Keep your fingers crossed that none of my hate colleagues will be there, especially not our supervisor because of course it’s in the place where I work…

    When I first met mr he was giving his age in 19 plus a letter. By now the Latin alphabet has run out of letters

    I showed my sister your bags and she wants me to tell you they’re the coolest thing she’s seen in a while. She used to work as a paediatric nurse and said “why did nobody ever have this idea? Our kids would have loved it!”

  62. says

    Happy Birthday, Giliell!

    I showed my sister your bags and she wants me to tell you they’re the coolest thing she’s seen in a while. She used to work as a paediatric nurse and said “why did nobody ever have this idea? Our kids would have loved it!”

    That means the world, thank you! I’m going to switch over to the white bags on the next refill -- I suspect those might be marker ready, and easier to deal with. Berglund, my gastroenterologist, saw one of them yesterday, and was very impressed. He wants me to contact the companies too, so one of these days, if I ever get any down time.

  63. kestrel says

    @Caine, re #88: your doc is great for suggesting that too, that you contact the companies. Here is hoping that first, you have the time and energy and that second, something comes of it. I realize it’s way in the future at this point, and subject too all sorts of “but ifs”, but if that day comes, some day in the future, I personally would sure pitch in a little cash to help out in such an endeavor. I just think it’s such a good, positive thing. (Although I admit there are days I wake up and think, “Yeah, it IS a good positive thing, and therefore no one will be for it.”)

    On some mornings, particularly cold mornings, the smoke from a fire does not rise but drops to the ground. I guess because the mass of cold air above it is too strong for it or something? It’s an interesting thing to see smoke on the ground instead of up in the air.

  64. says

    Thanks, Kestrel. The Blog is going to go to hell for a few days; it will be closed on Friday, because I’m scheduled for medical from 7am to 3pm: Pet Scan, Radiation, MRI, Surgery (chemo port install). 7 effing am means I have to be up around 4:30, 5am, and I’m already feeling past exhausted.

    I’ll have some time to catch up Sat & Sun, but then the crazy starts on Monday. We’re taking some down time tonight and going back into town to catch Proud Mary at the theatre.

  65. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 92

    Things going ahead! Hoping for the best, good sleep and that everything goes according the plan!

  66. says

    Some really nice news -- Rick was contacted by Standing Rock, and his company has been hired to help get Rock Industries back up and running toward the end of Feb. Hopefully, things will be calmer with me by then.

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Caine, hope your evaluation goes well, and you get into the clinical trials.

  68. Ice Swimmer says

    People in Ireland, U.K. and Western/Central Europe:

    Are you OK? The winter storm there sounds like a really bad one. Here in the North, there’s just some snowfall, but nothing extreme.

  69. rq says

    I hope all goes swimmingly with the medical stuff, holding my best thumbs for you. Have fun at the theatre, I have Proud Mary on my look-forward-to list, so I hope it’s as good as the trailer suggests! ♥

  70. says

    Storm mostly passed my neck of the woods, though it was worse where I’m working. Hard to get kids to concentrate when the trees in front of the window move a few metres back and forth.

    All the best wishes and good hope for you

    Went shopping with the kids. They were allowed to choose a snack. They took a packet of ramen each. They crush the noodles, pour the seasoning on top and munch it. They made me try. They’re geniuses. Also less fat than crisps.

  71. says

    At our workplace the storm uprooted a tree in the yard, so when I was going home I was already passing by a stump. The way home was uneventful, no fallen trees or branches and now the wind seems to be receding somewhat.

    I had an interesting chat today with a visiting coleague from Enkenbach. He told me that one of his friends is an African American who recently retired but does not want to return not USA and intends to stay here. His reasons -- US (AL- his homestate) is much, much more racist than Germany and his fourteen years old son grew up in Germany and would not know how to navigate the social environment in US. He fears he would get beaten or worse, shot. Here in Germany his son has no problems whatsoever, this is his home and the racism is nowhere near as big a problem.


    Caine, glad to hear about Rick and Standing Rock. It reminds me that I should check ICTMN again.

  72. kestrel says

    @Charly, #103: Wow. Um, go, USA? Yes, the racism here is rampant, no doubt, and I believe that it’s getting to the point where *this place* should be declared a shit hole. Makes me sad… :-(

    @Caine, great news for Rick, that is awesome. We can always hope there will be more good news to come.

    Re: big storm… there was a storm here, but it deposited a mere centimeter or so of snow but got very, very cold. One of the fire engines here had to go out during the storm at night (a 20-car collision near by) to help out as local resources were not up to the task, and during that time, one of the valves on the engine froze. (One that is used for water, not in the motor.) All the resources need to be ready in case of a fire. Fortunately the companies that service these big beasts are pretty fast about it. Also, now, instead of dragging the engine to them, the Partner was actually able to take photos of the valve and email them, so they could evaluate the problem and find the correct valve for replacement. One of their guys is coming here for another reason, he will stop by and possibly fix the thing there and then.

    And best wishes for all in a big storm right now. The weather situation is not a pretty thing. I’ve seen winds where trees snapped off, here… very scary, even a dry wind with no snow. With snow? Yikes… stay safe, everyone!

  73. says


    Here in Germany his son has no problems whatsoever, this is his home and the racism is nowhere near as big a problem.


    While I hope this remains the case for the kid, there is a huge difference in Germany between African Americans and black people from Africa. For personal interaction, the American usually trumps the African part, though that is no good when meeting the racists on the street. Also depends heavily on the location. As you know, the region around Enkenbach is one of the biggest US military bases (when asked by Americans where in Germany I’m from I usually don’t bother with Luxemburg or France but go straight for K-town and Rammstein*) so people are used to African Americans. I wouldn’t recommend Dresden or Leipzig for university.

    *My favourite interaction was one person remarking how cool it was that they named the place after the band…

  74. says

    Fucki it, FtB keeps logging me out mid of a typing of comment. WTF? It was happening when I was writing a comment during lunch break at work, but there FtB always worked wonky, but now it happened at home too.

    Not typing it again, I am too tired. much shorter version:

    @Giliell, former DDR is admittedly more racist and xenophobic. You know the AfD has a stronger foothold there.
    All former eastern bloc countries in cental Europe (CZ, SL, HU, PL) are more xenophobic. I think it is because they were isolationist for a long time and people here actually have much lower literacy in foreing languages than in western counries.

  75. chigau (違う) says

    Because Meh. Why not?, I’ve placed a hold at the library for Fire and Fury.
    I’m 604 in line.

  76. rq says

    All former eastern bloc countries in cental Europe (CZ, SL, HU, PL) are more xenophobic.

    Also the ones further north, I’m pretty sure about that.

    Also happy much-belated, Giliell, I’m sorry I’m so late with the greetings. The struggle continues but February 16 approaches fast and it just can’t get here fast enough.

    O, the mansplaining!
    So there is Husband, who did kickboxing ten-plus years ago for a couple of years, and has not done any organized physical exercise since. Okay, I didn’t for several years, too, but I’ve been attending tae kwon do for almost a year (well, a year in March…) for myself. The actual sparring takes up about 10 minutes of each training session, because most of it is technical full-body work, plus endurance and strength training, and stretches. Which is great!
    Except today I tried to explain to Husband how it’s different being physically active after 30, and not like it was in my teens and early 20s. Ah! I got a list of suggestions on what I should work on! And how to do it! Even though all I tried to explain was that at my age, all that quick-movement and resilience stuff feels different, and I need to approach things differently, with different movements and use more skills in patience and experience than rely on speed and bounce… Ah, but I just need to work with a jumprope more regularly (yes, me, with my horrible knees and bad ankles, this will help definitely!). Or take up running on days when I don’t have training! It’s really that simple!!!!
    I can’t wait until HE starts some sort of regular physical activity and/or training. Boy, do I ever have a series of suggestions for him!!!

  77. says

    Uhm, he is aware that he’s explaining this to somebody currently doing tae kwon do?
    Exams on the 16th?
    Today a colleague and I decided to stop by Ikea next week, get the free measuring tapes and start cutting off a cm each day when it’s only 100 days.

    Life, give me a break.
    I’m begging you.
    Today we went to my parents, as every Friday. My mum even made one of my favourite cakes to celebrate my birthday.
    Before we cut the cake, I went outside to feed the rabbits and saw that Pünktchen’s left eye was no longer visible but the side of the head was drained in puss.
    So we went to the vet. Serious infection and also some parasites.
    So far it’s looking hopeful, despite that stress he’s alert and started to wash himself after the bath we had to give him.
    But I just can’t deal anymore.

  78. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    Many higs to you. Grog and Whisky and Whiskey are on the way to you via USB. Breathe. Imbibe. Relax. Have a cigar. Whatever it takes.

  79. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Well. That was interesting.

    An older gentleman bicycled into the park today. I noticed that he was over in our picnic area and appeared to be doing something unusual. Well, unusual beyond having no shirt on (it is about 30F with five inches of snow on the ground). He was dancing and shouting. So I walked over to ask what he was doing and to remind him that we close at 4:00pm.

    This very, very, very white man, with blonde hair and blue eyes, explained that he is a Delaware Indian and he is performing a special ceremony on this spot because, in 1418, on this very date, White Snow Runs killed a white grizzly bear right here and if he does not do the chants, the dance, and the incense (which was a Parodi cigar), very bad things would happen. I wished him luck, told him to be careful because of the temperature, and went on my way.

    Okay, he may, legally, have the 12.5% native American ancestry to qualify as a member of the Lenai Lenape. I doubt it, but it is possible. Second, how could he possibly know what happened on this date 600 years ago? Which calendar was being used? What day did the new year begin? Third, White Snow Runs? I went to school with a boy whose last name was Eaglefeather (well, that was the English translation of the Zuni(?) last name), but White Snow Runs? Last, a Parodi cigar for incense?

    Oh, well. He wasn’t hurting anything so go for it.

  80. says

    Ogvorbis, thanks
    Currently sipping on a 12 year old Auchentoshan.
    Tomorrow we’ll go for a whisky tasting with a 4 course meal.
    And my sister wrote that Pünktchen is doing fine. He’s eating and trying to escape the temporary box.

  81. says

    @rq, good luck with taek-won-do. I have never seriously trained myself (alghough I dabbled a little) because all sports are boring to me and my physical condition is below average when I am at my best. I had an annoying schoolmate at highschool, who believed that physical fitness is determined purely by how hard and well someone is training. He was in good physical shape so this gave him an opportunity to look down on me I guess.

    Nobody knows your body and your limits better than you do.

    @Giliell, have a hug and a mug. Fingers crossed for Pünktchens recovery.

  82. says

    Ok, looks like Pünktchen is going to make it. He’s eating and drinking and tried to escape the vet’s loving hands.
    While we were waiting there were people who brought in their whole litter of puppies for vaccination.
    A-cute overload.

    Loving your body when it’s not like society tells you a body should be is a hard thing to do.
    One of the most damaging concepts we have is that you are only allowed to enjoy things you are good at, be it crafts or sports. Everything is a competition.

  83. says

    @Giliell, yup, everything is a competition and that certainly played a role in me not liking very much almost anything and sports especially. The culture is soaked with everything being competition. Plus people are over-deterministic, they generally do not realize how much of our lives is out of our direct control. So for every instance of a bad luck there is a ton of people who will blame you for your misfortune and tell you what you should have done.

    Even people who should know better. One of the many not so pleasant memories from school is when we went on mandatory swimming courses. I enjoyed swimming, but I was also weak because I barely survived chronic tonsilitis in my childhood. We were told to swim as many pool lengths as we can -- and I had to take a break after each length. So of course at the end of the day I had barely one third of what almost everyone else had, with the exception of one schoolmate whose swimming technique was so bad he barely held his head above the water. And the swimming instructor, not knowing my medical history, had nothing better to do than to mock me. She even had the gall to complain about me to my mother that I am who told her in no uncertain terms that what she thinkd of her because it was the first time in my life I was able to swim as much as I did without colapsing, and that was an achievement and not a failure.

    Gym teachers are all assholes in my experience. And they are in big part to blame for my hate of everything sports related. Maybe I would not be bullied as much as I was if gym teachers did not passively and even actively encourage such type of bullying.

    Ah, I got mugged in memory lane again.


    For the sake of precision, I did not dabble in taek-won-do, but in karate and aikido. Somehow when typing that caveat got eaten by fairies.

  84. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Well, just drove into work today. Past the camera crew from a local TV station and the LARGE sign that says “PARK CLOSED”. Punched in the code, up went the gate, and, of course, the TV crew tried to follow me in. So I had to get out and explain that the park was closed because of a lapse in spending authority. They asked me to comment on camera and I referred them to the Superintendent’s office. And asked them to leave the property as it is closed. And then I asked them to leave the property as it is closed. And they finally did.

    So now I have four hours to wrap up whatever I need to wrap up, do some paperwork, and head home.

    Of course, last night, the White House budget director stated that, unlike Obama, the Trump White House will not weaponize the shutdown by doing things like closing National Parks. He claimed (wrongly) that the 2013 shutdown was the first time any National Parks had been closed and Obama did that just to weaponize the shutdown.

    Which is odd. I’ve been here for five shutdowns. And we closed for all of them.

    (cross posting to the Political Madness thread)

  85. kestrel says

    @Ogvorbis: yeah, I keep hearing that everything is fine with the shutdown. NO. IT IS NOT FINE. Crap, I hope it does not stay like this for long. :-(

    I got an unexpected treasure yesterday. (At least, it is to me.) A used book store opened up recently and it’s HUGE. We went in and started looking around avidly… like we need more books… and I found: “Regretsy. Where DIY Meets WTF.” YES! SCORE! I am thrilled. Last night I started reading and laughed so hard I cried. It was great. I need laughs, these day.

  86. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell, have fun with the food and the whiskey and enjoy life! Hoping Pünktchen will continue to get better!

    Ogvorbis, my sympathies for you! No sympathies for the White House and Repugs.

    Re liking things even when not being good at them. Agreeing with Giliell and Charly. I think there should be some kind of reform in school PE and the competitive sports and doing things for your own well-being should be separated in some way. Of course, that would cost something. So does killing the motivation to do any kind of exercise.

  87. says

    A fun story: Here you can buy cow bones for soup, but they are relatively quickly sold out and therefore hard to come by. They also are often cut into pieces smaller than I would wish, because for me the most prized thing is not the soup, but the piece of bone. So I decided to buy whole bones over the internet. I googled, found some whole dried cow tibias sold as snacks for large dogs. So I put ten pieces in the basked, I clicked “order” and I expected a small package to arrive….

    What arriwed is a HUGE package. I liver in rural area, I have living cows around, I have been present when pigs were butchered etc. nevertheless my lived experience did not connect with the little picture on my screen. Complete brain fail. So I probably just bought a lifetime suply of bone for crafting.

    Now I need to find a suitable ant hill to clean the bones from marrow and remnants of tissue.

  88. kestrel says

    @Charly: that is a fun story and it made me smile. I live in cattle country and yes indeed, their bones are huge, relatively speaking. Cattle have been raised here for… about 200 years, I think? And in that time of course there are some that have died out in the pasture. It is not at all uncommon to find bones laying around, years and years later.

    I don’t know if this is good for bones for carving, but a vet I used to know would put bones in the pressure cooker, or else just a really big pot and cook them for a while. She told me they were easier to clean that way. She was preparing skeletons from animals that had died, for the purpose of teaching. After she had pressure cooked them, or steamed/boiled them for a while, then she would put them out on ant hills. But maybe that would not be good from a carving perspective? I am not sure.

  89. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ogvorbis @111:

    Okay, he may, legally, have the 12.5% native American ancestry to qualify as a member of the Lenai Lenape. I doubt it,…

    I knew a Métis guy who could have easily passed as 100% Cree or Anishinaabe. He had full siblings who looked like they could have just got off a boat from the Outer Hebrides. Funny old things, genes.

  90. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Spent the afternoon watching a cam on the SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy on the pad, and saw venting during a successful wet dress rehearsal.
    Then I watched a Rocket Lab launch of their Electron rocket (small payloads, not the massive stuff SpaceX and ULA put up) with a couple of mini satellites from New Zealand. The rocket lab webcast needs some second stage telemetry, and a forward facing second stage cam to show deployment. Auckland control, though, is definitely something different, not necessarily in a bad way.

  91. says

    @kestrel, cooking makes the bones easier to clean, but allegedly they are also harder and more britle afterwards, prone to cracking and splintering. It definitvely happened to me hat a pretty piece of bone cracked near the end of the work and I nearly exploded because I had no suitable substitute.

    I have never worked with uncooked bone, so I want to try it now, evaluate the difference and decidce which is better.

  92. says

    Last night was some delicious fun.
    Appetizer was Flammkuchen with salmon and a choice of homebrew (it took place at one of the small craft brewery/restaurants that have been springing up the last two decades). Then root parsley soup as first course, main course was beef cheek with root vegetables and polenta. I can tell you, it was delicious.I usually don’t like beef. Give me a steak and you disappoint me, but this was a heavenly delight. Home made tiramisu as dessert.
    6 whiskys (5 Scottish, 1 Swedish), matching the food. Pics and stories from Scotland, information about the distilleries and my best friends as company.
    We decided to make it an annual tradition.
    Pünktchen is looking better by the day and eating like two bunnies and a goat.

    re: competition
    Last year I complained at the kids’ primary school. They often have people from sports clubs coming into school, present their sport for two weeks or so and it’S generally a great idea. The kids can try out different sports without making any commitment and the clubs get an opportunity to present themselves. Last year both the tennis people and the inline skating people decided it was a good idea to have “gold-silver-bronze” certificates.
    #1 has the best fine motor skills in the world, but for everything else she’s just plain clumsy. She took 4 years of ballet classes and still moved with all the grace of a newborn giraffe. I didn’t mind. She enjoyed it, I as happy to pay for it.
    After that inline skating workshop she came home crying and all upset, telling me she would never again use her skates because she was so bad at it.
    I asked the principal what the goal of that workshop was, because what they achieved was that a kid who loved her skates was now sad and less likely to go skating.

  93. says

    *hugs* offered to all. Caine, I’m sending you all the good vibes.

    Giliell, I’m glad to read that bunny is improving.

    I’m having a worry about the cat -- she’s thrown up something red twice this morning. We have an appointment with her vet shortly, but I’m already stressing about her. At least we have a bit more room in the budget for emergencies right now.

  94. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 126

    Mmm. There are some restaurants here that do their kind of Tarte flambée/Flammkuchen and their goat cheese one is delicious. Also, I like root parsley and luckily it’s getting more common and affordable here.

  95. says

    Home again. They did all the necessary labs and we should have results in a day or two. Shadow’s lost about ¾ of a pound, which is a lot for a cat who was 9 lbs at her last checkup four months ago. She also got anti-nausea and acid reflux shots. She ate some cat treats and is relaxing on Paul’s lap, so now it’s just wait and see.

    We have good vets, and I’m very good they’re open on Sunday.

  96. says

    Anne, here’s hoping your cat is still on her first life and gets through fine and even better with the help of moden medicine.

  97. StevoR says

    Please watch, please share.

    (if you can which I’m hoping y’all can?)

    Via Aussie NITV & SBS on Demand viewability thingymawhtazit.

    ‘Occupation : Native by Trisha Morton-Thomas.

    Ouch and YES. This. Is. Our. (Australian) Nations. History.

    Truths told with searing sarcastic power by Trisha Morton-Thomas. Who rocks.

    Moving, funny and powerful historical reality that has gone ignored far too long.

    Reckon this needs to be compulsory viewing for all Aussies but those who most need to watch it, will no doubt refuse to do so.

    Because it hurts, because its true and is it ever powerful.

    Oh & we all have 30 days left to watch it here. Wish it was more.

  98. StevoR says

    ^ Umm, WARNING Swearing, (well justified) possibly Indigenous Australians who have since passed away, confronting material.


  99. says

    I heard back from Shadow’s vet -- Shadow has pancreatitis. Her vet thinks Shadow may have eaten something out in the yard that caused a flairup. We are to try to keep her from nibbling on the lawn, if possible, and they will check back in a few days. It’s another old cat thing.

    The cat herself is much better, lively and bouncy and eating properly again.

  100. jazzlet says

    Glad Pünktchen and Shadow are both better, I hope they continue to improve.

    Holiday was wonderful, small cottage in south Wales the lodge for though we didn’t get anywhere near as much blue sky as that photo shows. Just us and the dogs pottering around up to the tower every day and doing small local trips. Except for one day when we visited some old friends which was lovely, they are in that rare group who we don’t see for years at a time, but it feels like we last saw each other yesterday when we do get together. We don’t watch or read any news when on holiday, but it was very stormy over two nights and one day, no obvious damage there or here when we got back earlier.

    Caine -- that is wonderful about Rick’s work. Hope you manage to get plenty of rest to help you get through the tests and treatments.

  101. kestrel says

    I am very glad to hear that Shadow is feeling more herself, and that Pünktchen is also doing well. May they continue to get better.

    Today I saw a marsh hawk/harrier. We don’t usually see them in the mountains, here; we usually see them more out on the prairie, but there it was, hovering over the fields.

  102. says

    I’ll be missing tomorrow too, chemo starts at frigging 7:30am Wed. So, have to be up at 5:30am and out the door by 6:30am. Oy. I’ve been told it will be an all day thing, each agent takes about 2 hours, and I’m getting 3 agents tomorrow. I think. I’ll have all the usual stuff up.

  103. rq says

    So I feel there’s a line about to be crossed and it’s starting to feel all too inevitable:
    “You can offer to help move his stuff out.”
    “You realize that mean he’s coming here, right?”
    Your kids don’t need to see that, either!”
    “Yeah, but he’s my brother.”

  104. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    Best of luck with the treatment.


    To quote from a well-known movie: “I have a bad feeling about this.” I hope things work out to your benefit. And lots of higs to you and yours.

  105. says

    Go give that motherfucker its well deserved poison.

    Draw the line.
    I know you know this.
    This is just me cheering you on.

    Pünktchen is getting better by the day.
    Me, I got a nasty cold, exactly one week later than the nasty cold I had last year.

  106. jazzlet says

    Caine I hope the treament is going ok.

    rq, uff, that’s going to be rough going however it works out in the end.

    One of the great things about our holiday in Wales was the number of red kites we saw, all over the place singly, most often pairs, sometimes half a dozen or so. Red kites were wiped out in the UK so these have spread from a population reintroduced from the European mainland, thanks Europe!

  107. says

    Caine six hours is a lot of time. Will you be able to read a book? Or something? I can imagine it will be necessary to occupy the mind during that time somehow, with something.

    rq, I know how hard it is to draw line regarding loved ones. I am not envying you at all. It has to be done, even though it is unpleasant for all involved.

    My sister visited this weekend. I am glad she did, it cheered our mom and it was good to see that she is doing reasonably well.

    She is a compulsive liar and she has acquired huge debts, mostly due to her financial ineptitude and inability/unvilingness to folow advice about not going to loan sharks. We tried to help her, but after a few years it became clear that she keeps lying to us again and again and again and a danger of state executor’s visit started to loom over our heads as new, ever increasing debts, kept popping up. This could financially ruin the whole family. (The laws in CZ are rather bad in this regard -- the executor can confiscate anything in the household where the debtor resides and it is the onus of the owner to provide proof of ownership and jump through extraordinary loops to get things back. Having someone with debts in a household is extremely dangerous).

    We were poor at that time, so we had to draw a line more than eleven years back and tell her she must move out and fend for herself. After that we indeed had a few unpleasant visits from loan sharks, but since we had legal proof she no longer lives with us (which I had prudently requested from the town hall) and for a while we did not even know where exactly she lives, they could not do anything and buggered off after we gave them her lawyer’s phone number.

    Since then I am doing rather well, financially, so I asked my nephew last year if he thinks it is worth trying to buy his mom’s debts. He told me that this is a bad idea and advised against it. Because she still would not come clear and I might dig myself into a very deep hole. As long as she is poor, she is relatively safe, because the debts are deducted in orderly fashion from her wages by a court order, leaving her a reasonable minimum to live by. But if the loan sharks get a whiff that she might get her hands on some serious money, there is no saying what might come of it, both legally and not-so-legally.

    So I am trying instead helping my nephew as much as I can. He is a good lad and does not deserve the shtity start in life he had.

    Sometimes life gives us a choice between a bad and an even worse solution. I love my sister and I often wonder what would happen if we handled the situation differently. Maybe nothin much, but there is a real possibilty we would be all poor and barely scraping by. We will never know. I do not like the road we took, but I think we chose the right turn.

    I finally gave in and visited our physician with the sinus infection that almost healed multiple times over the last two months, but never quite managed to heal completely. I have got antibiotic drops, so I hope they will help. I do not particularly enjoy waking up middle of the night by almost suffocating, because my nose completely blocked. Loud snoring is not always an option for me, since I mostly sleep on my side.
    I am sick enough not to be well, but not enough to be ill, so I took three days vacation and hopefully the antibiotics will help to get rid of this bug once and for all (of the remainder of the year).

  108. kestrel says

    @Charly: oh dear, that sounds pretty bad… here is hoping the medication works on what ails you and you will soon be in fine form.

    @rq: oh crap. That is awful. But yes, these situations are just horrible. I know there is such a thing as family obligation but there is also such a thing as tough love and responsibility to one’s own family. AND self. There are some really self-destructive people out there but even if you are related, that does not mean it is your responsibility to have to “fix” everything because of course you can not. Alas. If only it were that simple…

  109. rq says

    Thanks, everyone. I take refuge in your comments.

    Rant ahead, you’ve been warned, feel free to skip to the end.
    I feel like the only card I have to play right now is the kids, and I hate throwing them at him like this, but I don’t know how else to convince him. He’s over there right now trying to rescue what cannot be rescued until it wants to be rescued, and all signs point to ‘not right now’.
    The small sliver of hope is that Husband asked me to send over the contacts for that psychologist who deals with addicts… that I got about 2 months ago and offered and was refused, but if someone in that household goes looking for appropriate professional help instead of relying on the emotional support of family members, all the better. As I told Husband today, nobody in the family is actually competent to deal with the issue, if we were to look at it from a professional standpoint. So many thumbs for that being a resultative piece of conversation.
    And apparently life has been shit to his brother, because although he has a rather large and caring family, a really well-paying job with travel opportunities and heaps of responsibility and problem-solving (the stuff that he likes), and a gf who’s put up with him for over ten years, two godchildren plus his gf’s two kids (even though he’s always been her bf and not a stepfather to the girls), the fact that he hasn’t put any of his assets into building something of his own (as in, owning property of some sort…), life has been cruel. Shit, with a minimum of effort he could own a house twice the size of ours and shrug at the mortgage, but no, he has nothing to his name, this is why he has such issues. Fuck that shit.
    I fully understand that something very like depression might run in that half of the family (lord knows it runs through mine, along with some very obsessive-compulsive traits and probably some non-neurotypical attributes as well), but that’s a whole other issue. Guy has nothing, which leads him to drink? Yeah. Sure. This is why we owe him money and not the reverse.
    I’m just… ugh.
    And Husband’s growing suggestion that he could live with us for a while, until he finds his own apartment (gf owns the house they share now) -- I’m sorry, but a couple of weeks ago Husband was all about him getting a hotel, if gf kicks him out, let him live on his own, but now it’s ‘he should know he has family support’, when all he does is say ‘fuck you’ to all the other family support he’s received. If the family card worked on him, he’d have gone for help a long time ago and we wouldn’t be in this situation. And how is the gf to feel, if Husband keeps telling her she really should kick him out, think of the girls (age 15-17 or so), think of the girls, and then turns around and takes him in? The gf would ride that guilt train right into the sunset, because now it would be our kids, who are much younger, sharing a living space with him, and she would not take that well.
    I already told him if he brings him home, I will have no sympathy and probably no basic decency, either. I’m not willing to play polite social games and how-do-you-dos when it goes against all my instincts for keeping my kids stress-free. And me, too, for that matter. “He wouldn’t be a bother”. SURE. OF COURSE HE WOULDN’T. HOW COULD I THINK THAT. “It would be temporary”. Define temporary. “Until he finds a place”. WELL FUCK.
    Rant over. I’m going to bed. I hope Husband is home at a relatively decent hour because I have a social evening planned for tomorrow and he’ll have to be home, and I certainly hope he won’t suggest I change my plans sometime during tomorrow.

    Thanks again, everyone. I’m glad to hear the pets are doing well and that you, Caine, are about to kick some cancer ass. Booyaka. (And yay for the art bags, hope something comes of that that is both sustainable and hopefully lucrative for you. ;) And fun, always fun.)

  110. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Don’t worry RQ, to paraphrase what fictional Frasier Crane said, “we’re listening”.

    Caine, if you need a little help to keep to your electronic devices filled with entertainment for your treatment days, send out he rat signal. Amazon or iTunes cards could be forthcoming, from myself and others. Or Paypal transfers.
    I could have sent you a wig had I known, but I sent all 18 wigs to the local Cancer Support Center last month. Found the thank-you letter from them when I did some cleaning this week.

  111. says

    I hope you’re getting some sleep.
    Don’t feel bad about “throwing the kids at him”. You’re not. You are looking out for their best interest.
    The truth about addicts is that they don’t love anybody half as much as they love their substance of choice.

  112. Ice Swimmer says

    An aside:

    Giliell, you’re great at explaining things, you do it lucidly, convincingly and to the point.

  113. says


    Caine, if you need a little help to keep to your electronic devices filled with entertainment for your treatment days, send out he rat signal. Amazon or iTunes cards could be forthcoming, from myself and others. Or Paypal transfers.
    I could have sent you a wig had I known, but I sent all 18 wigs to the local Cancer Support Center last month. Found the thank-you letter from them when I did some cleaning this week.

    Thank you very much, Nerd. I’m doing okay for now. A friend in the UK sent me a couple of books by Oliver Pötzsch, and I have a tonne of music on my tablet.

    I wouldn’t wear a wig anyway, so it’s best they go to people who want and need them. A friend of mine is several months ahead of me in treatment for colon cancer, and it’s made a world of difference to me, being able to talk with them. They confirmed that major hair loss isn’t much of a concern with Folfox, the particular chemo we are both doing. Your hair thins quite a bit, but it isn’t really noticeable by other people, so I’m going to try and keep mine. I am going to have it braided (cornrows) so that I don’t have to deal with it during treatment.